One of my dearest friends, Jenna, had me over for the most delicious pumpkin pancakes and bacon near Christmas time a few years ago. The house smelled of yummy pumpkin and cinnamon and the kids were running around playing while we reminisced about our crazy days of teaching 5th grade together.
In the midst of all the happy chaos, Jenna quietly gave her son some hay to place in a little cradle after he was helpful to his sister. Curious about this gesture, I asked her to explain.
In an effort to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, Jenna explained they started this little activity of collecting a cradle full of hay or love for Jesus as their family's Christmas gift.
Each kind deed is recognized with a strand of hay with the hopes that by Christmas the cradle would be full of love.
I was truly moved by this tradition and have since started it with my family. I am so grateful that Jenna introduced it to me.
Note: A shoe or tissue box will do as a cradle. Let your kids decorate it to make it all the more special. If you don't have hay, cut strips of yellow construction paper. If your kids are older, they can even write their good deeds on the paper hay.
If you try this, let me know how it goes! My kids love it so far. And it has helped me to focus on their positive behavior instead of the negative. Isn't that what we should be doing?